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    Twitter to Reach 500 million users?

    According to figures from Twopcharts this Wednesday could see Twitter reach 500 million users. This is the equivalent of 1 in every 14 people living today and what’s more, the social media channel’s growth is showing no signs of slowing down. If you happen to be one of the few people who are not familiar with Twitter, here is a little background to the platform.

    Twitter is a social media site that enables users to communicate though “tweeting”. A “tweet” is restricted to 140 characters or less. This allows users and brands to tweet short updates  in real time either publicly or privately to other Twitter users. Since Twitter began, “tweets” have evolved and now we see users using “hashtags” which are shared links surrounding topics of interest. As well as being a way of keeping in touch with friends and discovering news in real time, Twitter is also a great way for both celebrities and brands to reach out and engage with their followers.

    Although Twitter is becoming increasingly popular it is still lagging behind its main competitor Facebook in terms of registered users. Facebook currently has 850 million registered users in their database but it seems this gap could quickly be closed with Twitter gaining new users at a rate of 12 per second. Twopcharts.com even suggest that the 600 million mark could be reached within the next 3 month, perhaps owing to Twitter’s announcement on Tuesday that iPhone and Android app users can expect updates that will speed up finding friends and improve the current copy-and-paste options.

    However, some industry experts refute these claims due to the fact that Twitter’s user count is based on registered users, not active users. Although many users are signing up to Twitter, many are leaving their accounts dormant. It is estimated that 20% - 25% of every 100,000 new Twitter accounts created end up as un-active and only 10% of that group will post tweets. Other figures from Twopcharts suggest that 45 % of users have never sent a tweet, only 20% have sent more than ten tweets and that just 10% of users have sent over 100 tweets. Twitter itself seems to back up these claims, their official page states that the site has 100 million active users.

    Regardless of these statistics, it is still pretty obvious that Twitter is a platform that is growing increasingly popular and will continue to do so. Although there are currently a lot of inactive users, it is predicted that over time these users will spend more time becoming familiar with the site and become active users themselves. For brands and businesses, Twitter is a brilliant platform for engaging with both new and old customers and with Twitter’s booming user numbers it seems its importance will continue to grow in 2012 and beyond.

    UPDATE - Reports coming in have suggested that Twitter has now managed to smash the 500 million mark.